Diagnostic value of scrotal sonography in infertile men: report on 658 cases

D Nashan, H M Behre, J H Grunert, E Nieschlag
Andrologia 1990, 22 (5): 387-95
Scrotal sonography with a 7.5 MHz sector scanner was performed on 658 consecutive patients of our infertility clinic. The incidence of pathological findings was unexpectedly high. Forty per cent of the patients revealed pathological structures such as varicoceles (21%), hydroceles (7%), epididymal abnormalities (6%), spermatoceles (6%), intratesticular hyper- and hypoechoic changes (4.5%), intratesticular cysts (1%) and tumours or carcinoma in situ (CIS) (0.6%). Sonographic evaluation and measurement of the caput epididymidis was compared with palpation. Sonography distinguished size ranges of "normal" and "thickened" epididymides as diagnosed by palpation. Cystic structures were proven in 56% of cases with "thickened" epididymides. The sonographically determined diameters of doppler-negative blood vessels were significantly smaller than those of doppler-positive vessels. Sonography revealed a higher occurrence of varicoceles than diagnosed by palpation (76% by palpation). Only 58% of sonographically identified hydroceles and only 67% of sonographically detected spermatoceles were detected by palpation. One testicular tumour and one case with CIS were only seen by sonography and not suspected on palpation. The results demonstrate that sonography represents a valuable tool in the routine diagnosis of andrological patients.

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